VIDEO: Man who witnessed bomber plane crash into Sheffield park relives tragedy

It is a day in history Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds will never forget.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 26 February, 2018, 11:48

He was just a school boy when he witnessed an American bomber plane plummet from the skies and crash into Endcliffe Park killing all on board during the Second World War.

The wreckage of the Mi Amigo.

Aged just eight at the time, the significance of the tragedy that unfolded before his young eyes was somewhat lost on him.

But as he grew older, Mr Foulds developed a deep seated feeling of guilt over the crash - which has lasted him a lifetime.

Now aged 82, the Lowedges man said: "I can remember it clearly to this day.

"Me and a few mates had a problem with a few other lads from a neighbouring school and we arranged to meet in the park basically to have a fight.

The Mi Amigo crew that perished.

"When we got there we saw the plane circling above the park. The airmen were waving at us, but being young boys we just thought they were waving being friendly.

"The next thing that happened it went over the trees and there was a huge explosion.

"It only dawned on us later in life that they were actually waving for us to get out of the way so they could land in the grassed area in the park.

Wreaths laid at the memorial.

"Had we not been there that day they could have landed and I think they would have probably survived.

"To this day I have a tremor in my hand and the doctor said it is because of the stress of what happened. I pray for those brave men every morning and night."

All 10 crew on board were killed when the B17 Flying Fortress - nicknamed Mi Amigo - smashed into the park on the afternoon of February 22, 1944.

The plane was attempting to return to its base in Northamptonshire but ended up off course over the skies of Sheffield after being attacked by German fighters that fateful day.

The memorial service.

It had been carrying a 4, 000 lb bomb intended to be dropped on a Luftwaffe air station in Aalborg, Denmark, when it was ambushed by enemy planes over the North Sea and was left heavily damaged.

Every year since the tragedy a service is held at a memorial in the park and yesterday was no different as Mr Foulds joined military personnel and civic leaders gathered at the site to lay wreaths.

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He had the honour of laying the American flag at the memorial.

The Lord Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Anne Murphy were among the attendees, which was followed by a service at St Augustine's Church in Brocco Bank.

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The memorial service in the park.

Mr Foulds also has his own way of paying tribute to the men that perished.

He has returned to the scene on the 22nd of every month for the last eight decades to lay flowers for those who fell and in particular the pilot, Lieutenant John Kriegshauser, who was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for minimising loss of life.

The great-grandfather-of-four said: "It was an incredibly brave act. They avoided us to save our lives knowing that they might perish in a crash.

"I think about it every day. I've gone back to the site every month since 1953, just to think about what happened. I was there the other day for about an hour.

"And when I go I'll be asking my son Wayne to carry on the tradition of laying flowers there.

"It is just my way of remembering what happened, and the brave lads who were in the plane.

"They should never be forgotten."

The wreckage of the Mi Amigo.
The Mi Amigo crew that perished.
Wreaths laid at the memorial.
The memorial service.
The memorial service in the park.